By Tim Flood

I am 60 years old. A very fit, healthy, non-smoking vegetarian. My father had prostate cancer and was treated by radiotherapy 13 years ago. He is cancer free. My younger brother also has prostate cancer. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019. I suppose prostate cancer runs in my family.

Emotionally, I dealt with this diagnosis very well although when the consultant explained the side effects, I almost passed out – the only time that has ever happened. I guess there must have been an unconscious fear about losing my sexual potency. At the time, I was in a relationship but I knew that it would not last.

Being single and choosing prostate surgery

After about a year on Active Surveillance, the relationship ended. My PSA, which had been around 9, shot up to 14. I decided that it was time for action. I opted for Robot Assisted Radical Prostatectomy. The surgery went well. I had no pain. It was the first time for me in hospital and I treated it as something to experience and enjoy. The NHS staff were exceptional. The surgeon was pleased with the outcome and predicted a speedy recovery.

After the surgery, I was fortunate enough to have my father be my support person. This was to be a very positive time as we spent a whole fortnight together and became much closer.

Self pleasuring becoming more important

Libido, along with erection, ejaculation and orgasm, is one of the four aspects of male sexual activity and each is different for every individual. I have always considered sex a vital and pleasurable part of my life. Even within relationship, I masturbated. Prior to surgery, my erections were strong and reliable. I used to achieve orgasm and ejaculation easily.

Now things were different.

Incontinence recovery was good and after 2 months I was pad free. Initially, erectile function appeared to be good, however, at the time, I was single and sexual activity was limited to masturbation. It is not obvious (?!) but during masturbation there is no objective assessment, no feedback from another person. I can give myself constant stimulation and I have only one clear goal.

My surgeon had said “use it or lose it” but really, I needed no incentive to masturbate.

New love after lost relationship, cancer treatment and ED

My previous relationship had lasted 20 years and we had enjoyed a good sex life. But after the menopause, my partner lost interest in sex and the relationship began to wane. Discussions about sex were never successful and we became emotionally distant. Three years ago we separated.

As I mentioned, I was in another relationship for a year, although we had plenty of sex, I was not emotionally engaged and that relationship came to an end.

Then seven months ago (October 2022), I fell in love – which is a great feeling, and at 60 years old, an exceptional event, of which I am very grateful. We have a wonderful sex life, really, the best I have experienced. My next post tells the story of how we found our way into lovemaking in a new relationship while I had quite severe erectile dysfunction (ED).